Pen y Fan

Saturday, 3 May 2014
2625ft/800m ascent
Trail 100 #36

After a ridiculously long drive to the Brecon Beacons we arrived at the Natonal Trust car park and took one of the very last parking spaces.  None of us had expected this remote place to be quite so busy.

We set off along a path which soon rose to reveal the spectacular view of the ridge ascent. Having seen the dramatic flat topped summit, we decided to change our plans and include Corn Du (2,864ft/873m) as well as Pen y Fan (2,907ft/886m) and Cribyn (2,608ft/795m).

Pen y Fan and Corn Du

The hills here are unusual, with clean ridges, flat tops and a peculiar striated rock which looks like layers of green moss.  In places where the red rocks have been broken the insides are a pale green colour.

There are wild ponies on these mountains too, and it was amazing to hear them whinny and come charging over the steep slopes, hooves clattering.

CribynMountain Pony


Pen y FanAfter a steady climb along the ridge, the final section to the summit of Pen y Fan is steep and rocky, almost a staircase until you arrive at the crowded flat, rock covered top.  We paused to take some photos and eat a snack and then followed the ridge to Corn Du. The paths here are well made and on this Bank Holiday Saturday were crowded with hundreds of people marching like ants from summit to summit.

We stopped at the obvious photograph point and waited for our turn to pose on the stone overhanging the steep drop from Corn Du.  The crowded summit of Pen y Fan visible in the background.

Plinth 1
Plinth 2Corn Du Summit
Corn Du

The views in every direction from Corn Du are pretty, on a less hazy day they would be amazing.  The pretty little lake nestles at the foot of the steep drop.

After lunch we skirted the summit of Pen y Fan and descended a long way to the col before joining the path to the top of the steep pyramid of Cribyn.

We discussed the options for the route back and decided to go straight down the front of Cribyn, rather than continue on to the next hill, Fan y Big (2,359ft/719m).  The striped green and red cliffs of Pen y Fan dominating the valley below.  On reaching the foot of the hill we followed the road back to the car park.

Cribyn RidgeCribyn SummitPen y Fan from Cribyn

A fabulous day walking in an amazing range of mountains – somewhere we will definately be walking again in the future.


From the National Trust car park (SO024248)

Pen y Fan Route


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